Oktoberfest is well renowned and well celebrated, but alas it only comes once a year. But we have found a way to celebrate early in the year as well. At Eppig Brewing, the annual Fruhlingsfest is just as popular as its well-known autumn counterpart.
Fruhlingsfest, which roughly translates to “spring fest,” is sometimes referred to as Oktoberfest’s little sister. The festival is a brauchtumstag (day of traditions), so the Eppig team and those in the mood to celebrate, donned dirndls, lederhosen, and floral crowns to celebrate spring for a two-day beer fest.
Clayton LeBlanc, co-founder of Eppig Brewing, invited our podcast team to join the festivities at the waterfront venue on April 23 in Point Loma (Fruhlingsfest was held April 16 at the Vista venue). There I met Daylen Dalrymple, Eppig’s director of marketing, and LeBlanc to hear more about Eppig’s Fruhlingsfest.
The event was a success from morning into the evening. The morning yoga and beer group stuck around as the beautiful waterfront location set up. The flower crown crafting tables filled up, the aroma of fresh baked pretzels filled the air, and the beer was flowing! Biersal food truck pulled up and I can attest to the excellent bratwursts and chicken schnitzel sandwiches.
ILB: Tell us a little about the origin of Fruhlingsfest.
Dalrymple: Fruhlingsfest is the springtime spinoff of Oktoberfest which happens in late September in Munich.
LeBlanc: I think the Germans were looking for a reason to party. Instead of blue and white decorations, like Oktoberfest, we have pink and white for the blossoming flowers. We get out the dirndls and lederhosen and play lots of German music.
ILB: And how does Eppig Brewing celebrate?
Dalrymple: It’s a glorious celebration of spring! We have tables set up for making flower crowns, a pretzel eating contest, and a stein holding contest. We are excited to usher in spring with all our beer drinking friends!
ILB: It is a little like Comic-Con for beer drinkers.
Dalrymple: Absolutely! You can see how many people are dressed up and having fun! And we brew a special small batch of our Festbier. We basically blow through our Festbier in two weekends. This beer has been specifically designed in its recipe to be exactly what you’d experience in an actual Bavarian, Munich festival tent. Nathan Stephens, Eppig’s Principal Brewer, has worked hard to nail this style. People who have come from Germany and tasted it have said, “this is like being at home.”
LeBlanc: This is the beer I want to make and I want to drink!
ILB: Of course that can be said for most of your line up, traditional, true-to-style, German beers.
Dalrymple: When you want a really good, clean lager, we deliver! It is beer drinkers beer, and it’s brewers beer. The brewers around town understand how clean, how precise and what a high level of execution Nathan and Clayton have brought to the brewing culture here. It’s really special.
ILB: Your Glitz and Glam Berliner Weisse, for example.
LeBlanc: That beer won a silver medal in Germany for the berliner weisse style. I’m calling that a gold medal on home turf. [The German judges] don’t put up with any funny stuff. They have hard guidelines and rules about what a style should taste like and look like. Of course, we did add our nerdy San Diego way of tweaking the recipe by using real fruit versus syrup.
ILB: Tell us about Glitz and Glam Berliner Weisse.
LeBlanc: It’s very clear. We felt that the finishing process of this particular need to be done by gravity and time (not filters or centrifuges). And it comes out very crisp and dry. Made with real cherries and raspberries, so some tartness but the fruit flavors balance the flavor out. It’s refreshing.
ILB: It’s effervescent!
If you missed out on the Eppig Brewing Fruhlingsfest, you don’t have to wait that long to celebrate with the Eppig Team. On June 3, the brewery is hosting an 80s-themed prom night at its North County Brewery and Bierhalle as a fundraiser for the San Diego Food Bank. And IPA lovers, don’t fret — they bring the same craftsmanship and precision to their hoppy beers too.
For more of our interviews with Dalrymple and LeBlanc, check out our recent podcasts on ilikebeerthepodcast.com or on any podcast platform. Cheers! Be sure to follow Jeff’s adventures on Instagram and Twitter.